Evangeline’s Felt Like Home is honest, working-class music. It lacks any sort of posturing or pretense, and is instead thoughtful and earthy. With their simple blend of country rock, Evangeline creates unaffected songs that encompass the common every day experience. While they may not be saying much that’s new, Evangeline maintains a heartfelt attitude that never feels forced. The band’s sound is classic to a fault, but it still makes a connection to listeners. No, it’s not the most exciting or progressive album ever recorded by any means, but Felt Like Home is real. But Evangeline would’ve done better if the group took more chances.
Guitarist and lyricist Chris Cline shares vocal duties with the melancholy voice of Jennifer Potter. Both have the same sort of world-weary quality in their voices - they’ve been through the same sorrows, but they’ve emerged wiser, if not optimistic. The band’s other three main members, Kevin Suggs, Scott Summers, and Kevin Warner, all play with sensitivity to showcase the talents of the two vocalists. Evangeline isn’t as cohesive as they could be, however. There is no uniqueness to the styles of any of the band members, and they seem to lack the necessary intuition that would make them into a solid whole. Still, Felt Like Home is Evangeline’s first album, so they do have room to grow.
While never falling into clichés exactly, Evangeline’s lyrics don’t pose much of a challenge. They are mostly uncomplicated tales of love and heartbreak, like on “Polaroid” where Potter sings “You left me with a lot of questions. You took the answers with you too.” While she brings a sorrowful confusion to these lines, they’re still fairly standard. Similarly, Cline’s disaffection is almost too obvious on “Scenery” when he sings “It took so long just to get it wrong. I think I forgot what I was shooting for.” Evangeline’s strength does lie in the band’s laid back quality, though, and if the lyrics were more complicated, they would feel out of place.
All of Felt Like Home is easy-going and pleasant, and Evangeline doesn’t aspire to have it be anything else. Although there’s authentic emotion here, that isn’t enough to sustain the entire album. It’s hard to fault Evangeline since they seem to be doing nothing but singing their own truths. But while the band makes good music, but that’s about where it begins and ends. It’s sadly forgettable and uninspiring, no matter how honest it is.
// Notes from the Road
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